Chidlren play outside less today then they did when we were younger. Think back to how often you were outside as a young child and what you enjoyed playing out there. There are so many benefits to being outdoors. Here are a few ways to encourage your children to play outside.
photo courtesy of Mojpe at PixaBay
Benefits of Playing Outside
- Improves the Development of Motor Skills
- Increases Muscle Strength
- Develops Self Awareness
- Improves Social Skills
- Encourages Independence
- Develops Decision Making and Problem Solving Skills
- Increases Communication Skills
As parents we know how important it is for children to be playing outside, but what can we do to get them out there to enjoy themselves?
Limit Screen Time
Television and gaming time is tempting for children. Some families choose to ban it altogether. Others choose to require a certain amount of outdoor play before the TV or game console can be turned on. Alternatively, it can also be saved for rainy days, but not allowed on sunny days.
photo courtesy of Victoria_Borodinova at PixaBay
Let Them Be Bored
It seems to be our natural instinct to make sure our kids are not bored and have something to entertain them all of the time, but what if I told you that it is actually good for them to be bored? It's true! If a child is bored, it allows them the chance to think, reflect, explore, and get creative. They will come up with something to do and this is often the time that they find new interests, expand on what they already know, and develop independence.
Invite Neighborhood Kids Over to Play
It can be hard to get children outside to play when there is no one to play with. Inviting the neighborhood kids over can make reluctant kids get off the couch and head outdoors.
photo courtesy of Missymayday33 at PixaBay
Be sure to have plenty of outdoor toys available for your kids and their friends. Swings, riding toys, water toys, a sandbox, sidewalk chalk, and balls are all outdoor toy staples. Kids are more likely to head outside if they know there is something to do out there.
Parents Need Outdoor Time Too
If your child is especially reluctant to go outside on his own, then consider joining him. This is helpful if there are no other children around to play with. Spend some time swinging or playing basketball with a child. Or enlist his help with outdoor chores. Most children enjoy working alongside their parents.
Families should strive for some outdoor time every day. To encourage your child to spend time outside, limit his screen time, invite friends over to play, have an ample supply of outdoor toys, and join him outside.